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Our Graduates: Florence

Florence Kemsley

Graduate Trainee

When I graduated with a degree in English Literature from Exeter University my head was buzzing with ideas about what I wanted to do next. Work experience helped me narrow down my options to a top two: publishing and teaching. The only problem was deciding which one to pursue!

Eventually, I applied for a job at a local magazine. It was a small team so I had the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of magazine publishing from editorial to advertising. I was promoted to assistant editor and enjoyed the mix of creativity and business skills necessary for the role.

When I started to consider my next career move, my thoughts turned to educational publishing. I loved working at the magazine, but I wanted to do something which combined my passion for education too. I spotted the vacancy for the Cambridge University Press Graduate Programme and it immediately stood out.

Up until this point I hadn’t considered graduate programmes, but the Cambridge University Press programme changed my mind. I was inspired by the mission of the company to ‘disseminate knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research’ and excited about the focus on technology and innovation. All in all, it sounded like a fantastic opportunity.

The recruitment process for the Graduate Programme was certainly rigorous, including a verbal reasoning test, a personality test, a phone interview and an assessment day. The best advice I can give to anyone applying for a programme like this is to be yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.

I was thrilled when I found out that I’d got the job. A couple of weeks before we started we were invited to an induction day so we could meet our managers and the other trainees. At this point, we were given a timetable explaining what we would cover over the next 12 months. With placements planned in editorial, digital operations, technology, marketing and sales, it promised to be a busy year!

During the programme, I got the opportunity to work on our latest digital products, travel to book fairs abroad, visit schools to meet our customers, manage our social media accounts and sign off books to be published. I received fantastic support from colleagues at the Press, not just from my line manager and mentor, but everyone I met along the way.

Working in lots of different departments around the Press helped me identify where I wanted to end up and now I have a permanent role which fits my interests and skills, working on content development in the Cambridge Learning for Schools team.

It’s been a brilliant experience and I can fully recommend the Cambridge University Press Graduate Programme. Even if it’s been a couple of years since you left university, the programme is a great way to get into publishing and progress your career, so go for it!

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